By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
The good news is that in most of the countries we are tracking the downtrend in the growth rates of both confirmed cases and deaths continues. It is important that people should see this at the moment, because in many countries record numbers of cases and deaths are being recorded, and these large figures tend to conceal the good news.
For instance, in the United States, where a passivist confidently told me only last week that there would be only 10,000 deaths in total, there have been 19,000 deaths already, of which more than 2000 occurred only yesterday.
Some commenters are still trying to maintain, in the teeth of the evidence, that the Chinese virus is no worse than the annual flu, and that no excess deaths compared with the same week in previous years are occurring or will occur.
Even though the cumulative-case growth rates continue to decline, offering real hope that healthcare systems will not, after all, be overrun, there will be many more cases and many more deaths before this is over: therefore, making comparisons now between last year’s and this year’s death rates, for instance, will make the Chinese virus falsely appear less harmful than it will prove to be. Cumulative-case growth rates must fall close to zero (and self-evidently not to less than zero, as nodding Homer carelessly wrote yesterday) before we can feel confident that the worst is over.
Fig. 1. Mean compound daily growth rates in confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from March 14 to April 10, 2020. A link to the high-definition PowerPoint slides is at the end of this posting.
Fig. 2. Mean compound daily growth rates in reported COVID-19 deaths for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from March 23 to April 10, 2020.
The compound daily growth rate of total confirmed cases throughout the world excluding China and occupied Tibet, where the data have been widely and justifiably criticized as unreliable, is running at 6.6%, and the daily growth rate in deaths, a lagging indicator, at 8.7%.
If cases were to continue to grow at 6.6% compound every day for a month, the 1.7 million cases reported to date would exceed 12 million; for two months 80 million. Note that this is not a prediction, for it is very likely that governments will continue their control measures at least for another month or two.
On the other hand, it is very likely that true cases of infection exceed reported cases, perhaps by 1-3 orders of magnitude. Until antibody testing becomes possible, we shall not know for sure.
Happy Easter to one and all, and keep safe.